We arrived at Pepe's just in time to see the pizza men pull the pies out of the ancient coal-fired oven and place them on the counter. As they bubbled in front of me, I was struck by their imperfection. Rather than having the sauce spread out uniformly in a perfect circle, it was splashed around haphazardly, running to the edge of some slices and yielding a jagged rorschach blot of Italian goodness. The sausage and onions were perfectly browned, and the pepperoni slices were smaller than I'm used to, their edges curling upward and blackened from the fire. It seemed like an eternity before we got to the house to eat.
Once we were able to dig in, all conversations fell silent, with six of us munching, slurping, and shaking our heads in wonder at the delicate interplay of flavors. I've long been partisan to thin-crust pizza, and the crust of a Pepe's pie is as good as it gets, the perfect combination of crispy, chewy, and ever-so-slightly burnt. I could have eaten a whole pie, but it would have been impolite. Washing the slices down with a bottle of Harp, I began to see the benefits of living in Connecticut: good museums, amazing pizza, and easy access to New York and Boston.
Is it enough to get me to abandon Brooklyn for New Haven? Not yet, but I'd happily take another field trip to sample the ah-beetz from Sally's. If it's half as good as Pepe's, I just might be sold on the idea.
[Photo: Victor Ozols[
· Original Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana [Official Site]
· Sally's Apizza [Official Site]
· Dinosaurs, Darwin, and Bighorn Rams: An Afternoon at New Haven's Peabody Museum [Jaunted]